Here is a listing of our productions, with quotes
by Eli Siegel from his lectures. Click on the blue titles
for a complete flyer about the presentation.
Caesar; or, Mixed Motives in Ancient Rome
"Julius Caesar is essentially
about confusion. There isn't a person in the play who
isn't perplexed. We have what interested Shakespeare
so much: the way emotion is flexible, contrary, rich,
puzzling; and the way people can have one feelings and
have something so different in the same minute. ....
We can ask, How kind was Caesar? I see kindness as the
height of intellect, the height of subtlety, the height
of perception.... I think Caesar was kind, and did have
a great love in his heart--moreso, perhaps, than any
other Roman. "
and Fury in Sheridan's
"Two things are present which are
ever so hard to manage: the fact that we can reason
and have control; also that we are furious cauldrons,
molten and bubbling. We are symmetry and unrestraint.
And Sheridan, like other writers, other human forces,
is a study in fury and symmetry."
in a Dukedom; or Shakespeare's Twelfth Night
"This play can be said to be a lot
about self-love trying to be love.... Olivia is not
wholly honest. She is stiff, likewise, and she is afraid
of what she may feel.... Malvolio seems to represent
also a certain kind of self-slavery, a stiffness....
Viola represents the outside world coming to stir up
both Orsino and Olivia.... The Clown is against all
that stiffness; he is also against insincerity.... There
is a kind of emotional dance.... and if the play is
seen as having in it both an approach to ethics, an
approach to good and bad, and to events, with a surrounding
of infinity, then the play is truly felt."
Othello; or, Clever and Deep Evil
According to Aesthetic Realism, Iago represents
the cunningness of evil in every person....He says to
people, Look, if you think you've dealt with the problem
of evil that quickly, by making speeches about it and
smiling at each other--don't fool yourselves!
... The only way you can fight for good is to keep on
understanding evil and never get tired. Otherwise,
evil will come upon you, and fool you.
What Is Love?
This dramatic and musical matinee includes "Aesthetic
Realism and Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew,"
the 1951 lecture by the great American poet and critic
Eli Siegel, along with vivid scenes from this wild comedy,
and incidental music performed by flutist Barbara Allen
and pianist Edward Green.
And about The Taming of the Shrew, Mr. Siegel
Shakespeare was solving a problem through these people
in Padua that he saw as an everlasting problem of persons....Katharina
is the energy in woman looking for a means of showing
itself. Because she hasn't found it yet, she is in an
ill mood. She represents the desire in ourselves to
come to a repose through meeting an energy that we respect....Once
we can see the world as beautiful, we shall be in a
very fortunate position of not wanting to use our energy
in the field of anger in such a manner that we are displeased
Midsummer Night's Dream; or, Earthy Whirl
It comes to this: Shakespeare bows to a world both
shimmering and obstructive; gossamer and solid; and
the play presents reality in its mysteriousness and
solidity. How is that great mix-up of the world, and
all the confusion in ourselves, to come to anything
that is seen as sensible?....Aesthetics can, while accepting
the utmost in confusion, in the moment of courageous
acceptance see the music that brings it all together.
That is one of the sweet glories of A Midsummer
and Instinct Are There
The instincts are either going forward
or going away. They are going forward with amiability
or going forward with againstness; or they are going
away with hate or going away with fear. Roughly, there
is a from and to in the instincts....In
the meantime, the instinct of Shakespeare is working
and, it has been thought, very well. There is an artistic
Shakespeare’s The Tempest;
or Darkness, I Love You
Shakespeare’s Awfully Fond
of the Opposites
Seen Beautifully; or, Voltaire's Candide
"Candide, though written
in the middle of the polite 18th century, is one of
the giddiest, speediest works that ever lived. And its
beauty is its speed. It is a poetic, musical composition,
with evil presented clearly in a tireless sort of dance."
is a Force!--Songs About Labor
"The most important thing in industry
is the person who does the industry, which is the worker.
... Labor is the only source of wealth. There is no
other source, except land, the raw material.... Every
bit of capital that exists was made by labor just as
everything that is consumed is. Ethics is a force like
electricity, steam, the atom--and will have its way.
" --Eli Siegel
The songs include “Hold the Fort,”
“Joe Hill,” “The Union Buster,”
"Rum and Coca Cola," “Brother, Can You
Spare a Dime?” "Old Man River," "Seven
and a Half Cents"—and many more!
are saying about Ethics
Is a Force!—Songs about Labor:
“It was great. Everyone was inspired!”
—George Tedeschi, President, GCC, IBT
“It wasn’t just great entertainment—it
brought you into the emotion and meaning of the words.
It stays with you. I want to use it for Union organizing.
Everyone needs to see this!”
—Roberta Dunker, President, Teamsters Local 693
“The Aesthetic Realism Theatre Company educated
everyone. Their musical perform¬ance and spoken
word were both enlightening and inspiring....I sincerely
hope that the performers will be able to return again
—Angelica Santomauro, Executive Director, American
Labor Museum, co-sponsor of Ethics Is a Force! at the
Museum’s May Day Celebration in ‘04, ‘05,
‘06 & ‘07.
“You made our conference a success!”
—Richard Sheehan, President, Teamsters Local 802
“We should bring this program into our schools
so that kids get an idea of the meaning of the labor
movement. This is a tremendous thing you’re doing.
It was very moving.” —Dennis Raymond,
President, Teamsters Local 677, Waterbury, Conn. &
Chairman for the Bakery and Laundry Conference USA &
"This should go out to all the members everywhere
because they would be so inspired. They need this. We
all do, but I wish all of them could hear it.”
—Vito Dragone, Jr. Secretary-Treasurer, Teamsters
Local 491, Uniontown, PA
“I’ve told so many people about this
program. I like everything they did, especially ‘Joe
Hill.’ The message was outstanding!”
—Moses Greene, New York State Attendance Teachers
“Through song after song—rousing, tearful,
funny, surprising—the answer to economic injustice
here and abroad is given....This event is urgently needed!”
—Alice Bernstein, syndicated columnist
“Ethics Is a Force! is thrilling. It had
me see more the true power of labor—and how it
—Steve Weiner, Executive Board, Local 2627, AFSCME
"It was fantastic! We were entertained and
—George Boncoraglio, President, CSEA, NYC
"We were delighted to have the Aesthetic
Realism Theatre Company provide a terrific and exhilarating
performance as a kick-off to Arts Day in Albany [March
6, 2007], where celebrities, legislators, and arts leaders
from around the state gathered."
—Judith Weiner, Executive Director, Alliance of
New York State Arts Organizations
“I like Eli Siegel’s ideas!”
—Studs Terkel, Pulitzer Prize-winning author
Great Fight of Ego vs. Truth!
Songs about Love, Justice, &
Rock ’n roll, ballads, musical comedy, & more!
You’ll hear, through songs—including some
of the most popular and beautiful songs—what the
biggest fight is within every person and America herself.
Eli Siegel, the great American critic, philosopher,
and poet, founder of Aesthetic Realism, explained it.
It’s the fight between contempt for the world
and respect for it. It’s
the fight of Ego—lying about the world to suit
Songs about love, justice, people’s feelings—these
tell about that Great Fight of Ego vs. Truth as it goes
on, sometimes humorously, and delicately, and intensely,
in the dear self of each person. We’re proud to
sing and comment on them—and to give the following
news: Whatever the subject, every good song tells
the truth about what reality is and who we are!
The reason is in this Aesthetic Realism principle—"The
world, art, and self explain each other: each is the
aesthetic oneness of opposites." Through
this matinee, as you laugh and are stirred by songs,
you'll know yourself and all people better. And you’ll
find out why art and honesty are stronger than contempt
and lies—no matter who’s telling them!
is a Living Thing! Southey's Wat Tyler
"The neatest presentation of the
rights of people is in this play. In a way, Wat
Tyler is a miniature masterpiece. It has in it
politics, and history, and philosophy. "
Hard Times; or, What Does a Person Deserve?
"Dickens had been born in the world
of coaches, and yet he felt, 'Coketown, economics, strikes,
unions--they have something to do with the hearts of
people, the deepest things in people.'.... Bounderby
is a representation of people who are afflicting and
dirtying and lying about the world now: persons who
make their own selfishness into a national achievement,
who make their own lack of feeling into a world asset,
who use all kinds of beautiful terms to hide their own
grabbingness and hypocrisy.... The big thing about this
book is its courage, along with the Dickens charm, and
the subtlety. It shows so much of what Aesthetic Realism
is interested in--the heart of man, the ethics of man
in all times."
A Doll's House; or, How is One Thought Of?
"Every person wants to be seen a
certain way....It can be described as good will and
respect seen as one....The first thing in good will
would be: How does this person want to be seen? And
if you are really given to good will, the task of finding
out would be more important than any vanity you have....The
value of Ibsen is that in a play of 1879, the way a
person wanted to be seen was made the dramatic key,
pivot, crucial point."
Finn; or, Evil on the Mississippi
“Huckleberry Finn itself
represents a question which is always around: how to
be spontaneous, seemingly natural, oneself; and yet
go along with what other people seem to ask of you.
That is a very hard question.”
is Individuality? or, Sudermann's Magda
"What is individuality or self? What
relation does it have to everything else? The biggest
thing in ethics is that when the self is seen most deeply,
it is the same as the world—the world of all time
and space—not the narrow provincial manners of
Germany in the 1870s, or Nebraska in the 1880s, or Dublin
in the 1830s, or Tel Aviv in the 1960s."
The Father; or, What Interferes With Love?
"Strindberg says--and he's very important
for saying it--a woman can, in seemingly yielding to
a man, hope to have contempt for him. There is a desire
to have someone who seems strong become weak, and in
this way to glorify yourself. This is what Strindberg
noticed in his married life, and he hated it."
School for Wives; or, Agnes and the Bourgeoisie
"The School For Wives is
important because it is one of the most notable fightings
of that feeling, 'If you want to have a woman love you,
she can't be too intelligent.' That is why the play
has remained--along with the fact, to be sure, that
it is also beautifully made.... It can be called a satire
on darksome and sometimes very plain possessiveness....
And when it is acted, it can seem like the soul of man
proceeding to show itself amid the beating of fast drums.
The School for Scandal; or, A Sneer Brightens
"The School for Scandal
is a study of the utmost spontaneity and the utmost
polish and artifice, a study of pretense and naiveté,
a study of hypocrisy and sincerity, a study, in other
words, of man in his two great moods: “I'm for
everything, and I love them”— “I don't
give a damn for them”; “I want like anything
to be known as I am”—and “How can
I show myself to all these awful people?”"
George Kelly's The Flattering
Susan Glaspell's Suppressed
Desires; or, Freud is Piffle
Eugene O’Neill’s Beyond
Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre;
or, This Girl Had Good Will